Retrofit vs. New Construction Windows – What’s the Difference?

Older homes, particularly those in the Northern California regions near Sacramento, frequently struggle with the summer’s higher heat. This is due to the fact that these homes were often constructed in the 1960s, a time when single-pane windows were much more common than the double or triple-paned standards of today.

It is not just the single-pane windows that are to blame for the high heat and uncomfortable quality of life either. Even the homes built with double-pane windows back in the day cannot compare to the modern window quality. This means houses throughout the Sacramento area are finding that their homes are just too hot for the harsh summer weather.

Thankfully, you will be able to increase the value, style, and energy efficiency of your property if you replace these older windows with newer ones. But what kind of windows do you need, and what are the different options?

What is a “Retrofit” Window?

When looking at most windows, they will appear to be fitted perfectly into the side of your house. In reality, drywall and siding were installed first to make a window frame that would fit the windows chosen during construction perfectly. This is an important distinction when choosing how to replace your current windows.

You have two choices for removing your windows when looking to change them out:

  • You can remove the window, and then leave the existing window frame in its place for later use.
  • You can remove the window, as well as the siding and drywall that make up the window frame before re-installing a new frame around the window.

Homeowners will often choose to pull out just the window because the other option requires more parts, more work, and additional supplies. However, if you choose to only remove the window, you will have to find and install an option that fits into the previous window frame perfectly. The upside to this is you won’t have to re-frame it.

Due to the fact that this process fits a new window into the old opening left by the window you removed, this is often referred to as a “retrofit window” installation.

There are many advantages to having a retrofit window installed. Some of these include:

  • Affordability – Retrofit windows are significantly cheaper as you do not need to break down or rebuild the window frames of your house.
  • Quick Installation – The time required for an installation is also much lower for the same reasons.
  • Cohesive home Design – If you are hoping to keep the same style throughout your home, retrofit windows are a great option for this as well.

For those who want a cost-effective choice and want to avoid replacing a window frame that is still in excellent condition, retrofit windows are an excellent choice.

Should I Get New Construction Windows Instead?

Retrofitted windows are not the best choice for everyone, however. Because they are being installed into old frames, the new windows have to fit a specific opening. This can cause new windows to look small in their frames, or not look “built-in,” a style preferred by many. It is also important to remember that if your window frame has sustained damage, you may not even be able to use a retrofit window whatsoever.

If your frame is no longer in good condition or the “built-in” window look is your goal, you will need to have a “new construction,” window installed. This means new framing will be installed and you will have the option to pick larger windows, smaller windows, or any size window you want at this stage. This option allows homeowners significantly more control over the style and value of their property.

The Best Option for Windows in Sacramento

Thankfully there is no bad decision here, because depending on the requirements of your house, both retrofit and new construction can be excellent options. However, it is important to understand both choices fully because there are distinct differences between them that you should know.

It is important to have that conversation with your Cal Energy specialist before deciding which new windows are best for you.

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